Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker - Toy Review: 6” Ray Stantz

This, too was part of last year's Halloween celebration over on the MySpace blog. I think I was a little too harsh on poor Ray. I guess I give this one a 3 out of 5 now. It would be a 4, but that ghost is still a stupid fucking pack-in. I hate it.

First Glance: Ray looks a whole lot like Egon. Therefore, I’m going to just apply the review above to this one, plus a few Stantz-specific notes in each category. If Mattel can re-use a sculpt so many times, then I can re-use reviews of that sculpt, dammit. Here, however, is a Ray note for “First Glance”: Ray does not have the cool resealable packaging that Egon did. Boo (this “boo” is to show disapproval, not to scare you). Everything else is the same, except I am extremely disappointed by the lame choice for Ray’s “Ghost Accessory” – the Ghostbusters logo. On a stick.

Sculpt: The articulation is the same as the DC figures – excellent. Mattel has perfected the art of giving a figure a tremendous range of motion while maintaining realistic dimensions and eye-pleasing aesthetics. Ray’s jumpsuit looks screen-accurate, right down to the tube coming out of the upper thigh that I can’t figure out what the hell it is. Mattel went with bare hands as opposed to gloves, which is fine (although if anybody should have gloves, it would have been Ray). I’m pretty sure the Ghostbusters spent more time gloveless in the movies, anyway. The head sculpt is better than Egon’s. Sort of. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no doubt that head belongs to a tiny Dan Akyroyd; it’s just not outstanding. Mattel has done better. The face is really just too thin. So is the body, for that matter. I’ll bitch more about Mattel’s farmed parts and how they should have done it later, though. This is what Akyroyd might have looked like if he had hung out with Belushi a whole lot more. If you catch my drift. Sniff, sniff.

: The deco on everything is great. Granted, the Ghostbusters sport some pretty straight-forward clothing, but all the detailing is done very well. The built-on accessories are great, too. The belt is a separate piece permanently attached to the figure, with all of the little pieces of gadgetry from the movies attached. There is even a pair of gloves tucked into the belt, also a separate molding. Every aspect of this figure shows a lot of attention paid to references from the movies. All the little details really bring it together.

Accessories: We’ll start off with the bad so I can end on a positive note. I really very strongly believe that Ray should have come with those ghost-vision goggles and that each of the guys should come with a trap. You know what, I also think Mattel could have managed either attachable streams for the particle throwers or alternate versions with streams on them. How many times has Hasbro included force-lightning for the Emperor at no extra charge? Ray has none of these things. Whatever. I’ll live. The accessories that did make it are great, though. The proton pack and attached particle thrower do look amazing. All of the little wires and dials and gauges have been sculpted in and painted. The pack and the thrower aren’t just solid chunks of plastic, either. If there are wires or parts that should stick out from the main assemblies, they do. Also packed in with Ray is what will probably end up being the poorest choice for a pack-in accessory of the whole line: the Ghostbusters logo. On a stick. Seriously, this is just stupid. For twenty bucks, I want the librarian. She didn’t even need to be articulated or anything, just a solid sculpt would have been fine. What the fuck am I supposed to do with this stupid thing? Granted, it is a very clever feature that the ghost can be taken out of the symbol and displayed on its own; but there is no plain, white ghost in the movies. Mattel gets no points for producing something stupid in a clever way. Out of the hundreds of smaller-sized free-floating vapors in the movies, this is the best they could offer? Boo (and not in a scare-you kind of way)!

: This is some of the best packaging I have seen from Mattel except, of course, for the fact that Ray’s is not resealable like Egon’s. What the fuck? The design is great, the “file card” on the back is a nice touch and it is not resealable. Like I said before, I may not use that feature, but if the toy isn’t going to retail I see no reason for the packaging to be glued shut. Poor decision, Mattel.

Overall: I kind of wish I hadn’t ordered Dr. Stantz, especially after seeing the 1/6th scale version. He’s basically almost as good a figure as Egon, I just can’t see shelling out what Mattel is charging for these guys. Ray gets a

2 out of 5

(At first I gave this one a “3”, but I had to lower it. It isn’t every day that a figure makes you stop collecting an entire line of toys. Egon’s score was so much higher because that figure was the first, so it set the bar. The Egon figure was the representation of Harold Ramis. It was the size and shape of Ramis. If the Ray figure had come out first and used the same sculpt, I’d be giving Egon the lower score because he should have been taller and thinner, get it? The first figure set the scale standard, so it kind of got a pass.)

With as much as Mattel is charging for these guys – twenty bucks apiece – I think they should have figured out a way to get a trap and a character-specific accessory into each of the Ghostbusters. Especially when you consider how much they are saving by farming parts for all four guys. You are essentially buying the same figure four times over with different heads and, in Winston’s case – different hands. Egon should have been taller, Ray should have been fatter; but I can deal with these things in a six-inch scale if I can see that the costs are being put to effective use in other ways. Here, I just feel like Mattel is cutting corners instead of making good creative choices. I could understand if the thought was, “Hey, if we just reuse the bodies we can sculpt a bunch of cool accessories, instead!” But it seems what we got was, “Hey, we can charge twenty bucks for these because they say Ghostbusters on them!” The only way I will continue collecting the 6” line is if they announce a properly scaled ECTO-1 (granted, it’ll probably cost a hundred bucks). And I’ll probably end up buying ol’ pencil-dick, too. But I think I’m probably done with the smaller-scale Ghostbusters; mostly due to the awesomeness of:

12” Ray Stantz

First Glance: HOLY SHIT! This one looks fucking awesome! Ray looks a little too skinny again, but just looking at the box I can’t believe this thing only cost sixty bucks. It almost looks like Mattel put all that part-farming money they saved on the six-inchers into these guys. The packaging IS the very best I have seen from Mattel, a beautiful window box with graphics and “Stantz” written down the side. I can’t wait to open this thing up. This is probably the best first impression I have ever gotten from a toy I own (the overall best is from the Hot Toys Iron Man Mark II. That thing just about gave me a hard-on. If I ever part with $180 for a toy, it will be for that one).

Sculpt: The longer I’ve had this, the less I like it. It’s been a few days since I wrote the above paragraph and I really think Mattel could have done a better job on the head sculpt. It is one step less acceptable than the six-inch version. Actually, compared to this one, the head on the six-incher looks pretty great (I’m still not satisfied with the rest of it, though). It does look like Dan Akyroyd, but way too thin and sort of cartoony. I don’t hate it, but I’m definitely not loving it. As for the rest of the sculpted parts; the gloves probably should have gone further up the arm and the boots look really good. The body is pretty far advanced over most 1/6th scale figures. I’m not stripping Ray down to check, but there seems to be a shitload of clever articulation under those coveralls. The arms can be posed in virtually any position a real human’s could. Hell, the whole figure could probably be put through a full yoga workout! The only issue I have is that Ray, once again, doesn’t seem pudgy enough. I don’t want to sound like I think Dan Akyroyd is a fatass or anything, but he is definitely larger than the rest of the Ghostbusters actors. And my argument about the six-inchers doesn’t apply, here. On the 1/6th scale, you don’t have as much leeway with relative sizes. Ray just looks too thin. I’m tempted to stuff something in the torso of his coveralls just to fill him out a bit.

Design: Amazing. From head to toe, the costume looks exactly as it should. There’s no point in going on about this, a look at the pictures will show you how awesome this aspect of the figure is.

Accessories: Completely opposite of the six-inchers, the twelve-inchers come with a ton of accessories. Ray has his trademark ghost-vision goggles (I’m sure they have a more scientific designation, but I don’t feel like looking it up), a ghost trap that opens, regular and gloved hands, a walkie-talkie, a proton pack that lights up and a particle thrower. Everything looks great except for one thing: I can’t figure out why that tube coming out of the thigh of Ray’s coveralls is just tucked under the proton pack, not attached to anything. It just adds to the mystery of what the hell that tube is supposed to be.

Packaging: Best packaging ever. The figure is in a translucent box with ghost graphics all over it. There is a cardboard ghost trap half-open by his left foot. The left side of the box features a slide-out locker that opens up and has Ray’s accessories inside – goggles (there they are! Pay attention, six-inch Ray!), a trap and an extra pair of hands of the non-gloved variety. Just amazing. The pictures explain it better than I do.

Overall: I know I bitched about some stuff, most notably the head sculpt, but I’ve got to say that this figure is well worth it. Taken as a whole, Ray really does look pretty amazing. This isn’t a Sideshow quality figure or anything, but you’re not paying Sideshow prices, either. I feel a lot better about paying sixty bucks for this guy than the twenty I paid for the six-inch Ray. Your mileage may vary. If you’re used to paying twenty or so for Hasbro or Mattel’s 12-inch retail releases, then the sixty probably seems a little steep. If, however, you’ve purchased some Sideshow stuff before; the price tag on Ray should feel like a steal. Sideshow’s days of sixty dollar figures are long gone.

(just barely)4 out of 5

Until next time, stay creepy

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